A visit to Germany is incomplete without going to an authentic German beer festival.
Here are the top 10 beer festivals that will have you saying “Prost!”
10) Hanover Schützenfest
The world’s biggest marksman’s festival is celebrated every year in Hannover. It combines a fair with shooting matches among members of the local marksmen’s association, various rides and inns, and lively entertainment. The highlight of Hanover Schützenfest is the 12 kilometres long Parade of the Marksmen, which is is the longest parade in Europe if not the world. Of course, there’s also lot’s of beer!
9) Munich’s Frühlingfest
For anyone who wants to get as close as possible to Oktoberfest while traveling Germany without really being there will find that Munich’s Frühlingfest (Spring Festival) is the ideal choice. This festival is a miniature version of Oktoberfest even held on the same fair grounds, called the Theresienwiese in Munich. Beer tents, carnival rides, and oompah-music bands playing traditional German songs set the scene for this lively festival.
8 ) Munich’s Starkbierzeit
Munich’s Starkbierzeit also reffered to as “strong beer time” is exactly as the title suggests. Every year in early spring local breweries produce their strongest beers. The festival’s roots go back to the Paulaner monks who, according to legend, began making an extra-strength beer to sustain themselves during their Lenten fast. The festival is an excellent showcase of Bavaria’s distinctive culture and traditions.
7) Kulmbacher Bierfest
Unlike other festivals, the Kulmbacher Bierfest is exclusively dedicated to beer. The town is the proud home of four breweries that each put up a huge pavilion in the town center to sell their special beers. A variety of typical Franconian food is also available.
The Barthelmarkt occurs in Manching near Ingolstadt on the last weekend of August. Though first mentioned in 1354, its roots can be traced back as early as to the first century BC, when the Romans established a cattle market in the area. The name “Barthelmarkt” stems from St. Bartholomew, the patron saint of the local church.
Founded in 1812 as an agricultural gathering of the people in the Danube region, the Gäubodenvolksfest is a modern and family friendly festival. Beers from the Straubing-Bogen region are served, and on the first day there is a “bierprobe” meaning “tasting of the beer”, with a parade of 2,000 participants in traditional Bavarian costumes and on horse carriages and wagons.
4) International Berlin Beer Festival
Usually held on the first weekend of August, this festival takes place on the Karl-Marx-Allee in Berlin Friedrichshain. The city’s “beer mile” stretches 2.2 km from Frankfurter Tor to Strausberger Platz which organisers claim make it the world’s longest beer garden. One million visitors attend the International Berlin Beer Festival each year. For anyone seeking to sample a variety of beers will appreciate it’s selection of 2,000 varieties representing 85 countries with a focus on smaller, private breweries.
3) Bremen Freimarkt
First held in 1035, Bremen Freimarkt is the oldest fair in Germany. With more than four million visitors each year, it is also considered the biggest festival in Northern Germany. It offers a number of beer tents, amusement rides, and entertainment. An annual highlight is the “Freimarktsumzug” (Free Fair Procession) held on the second Saturday of the festival.
2) Cannstatter Volksfest
In terms of size, the Cannstatter Volksfest also known as Stuttgart Beer Festival is second-only to the Oktoberfest in Munich. It began in 1818 as a harvest festival following a famine and has since been taking place at the end of September every year. The fun-filled festival features beer tents, fairground rides, fireworks, a market and much more.
1) Munich’s Oktoberfest
Nothing compares to Munich’s Oktoberfest at least in size and attendance. So, if you’re looking for an excuse to celebrate with beer – this is the place to be!
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Suzanne Urpecz, creator and editor of The Hungarian Girl. Click on my About page for more info.